“Avengers: Age of Ultron” scored the second-biggest domestic opening in history this weekend, kicking off summer blockbuster season with a mammoth $187.7 million debut.
Globally, the film is a juggernaut, pulling in an estimated $627 million in 12 days of release. At that pace, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” should pass $1 billion, particularly after it opens in China on May 12.
One record remained tantalizingly out of grasp for Captain America, Iron Man and company, however. Going into the weekend many analysts predicted that “Avengers: Age of Ultron” would top the $207.4 million haul posted in 2012 by the first film in the super-team series. That box office high-water mark will stand… at least until “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” lands in theaters this Christmas.
Part of the issue may have been weaker reviews than the first “Avengers” film, as well as competition from the NBA playoffs, the Kentucky Derby and the hotly anticipated boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
The “Avengers: Age of Ultron” results are still an astonishing feat and a testament to the powerful sway that Disney and Marvel have over moviegoers around the world. The three biggest North American debuts in history are now all Marvel movies, with “Avengers: Age of Ultron” displacing “Iron Man 3″ and its $174.1 million opening from its runner-up perch on the all-time list.
“It would be a shame to see headlines saying ‘Avengers 2′ fails by not setting opening weekend records,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “This is still a massive debut, but there’s something about the movie industry where people feel every weekend should set a new record.”